Saturday, 30 April 2016

Automakers Beating Fuel Economy Expectations

A report conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) determined that more than half of all car and truck lines sold in the U.S. meet or beat the national fuel economy standards. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Of all the disclaimers ever penned by a corporate lawyer, few ring as true as the phrase, "Your mileage may vary." It's bad enough that so many of us undermine years of engineering achievements and refinements by driving with a lead-foot, but with big truck sales booming and consumer tastes shifting away from gas-thirsty small and midsize cars and into SUVs, one might worry the nation's cars and trucks are again turning into gas guzzlers.
Fortunately the aforementioned engineering accomplishments are working their science-based magic to vehicles of all sizes to go farther on a tank of gas than did their predecessors. Despite the recent surge in truck and SUV sales, the average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. last month was 25.3 mpg, according to the monthly Eco-Driving Index compiled by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, which is unchanged from February's figures and is 5.2% better than it was in October 2007 when the organization began keeping tabs on auto efficiency.
That's because, recent angst over Mitsubishi's admission that it cooked the books with regard to its vehicles fuel economy notwithstanding, a just-issued report conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) determined that more than half of all car and truck lines sold in the U.S. meet or beat the national fuel economy standards. For 2016, the so-called CAFE standards (it stands for corporate average fuel economy) require automakers to obtain an average rating of 35.5 mpg across all of its light-duty vehicle lines in the U.S., or at least under the convoluted methods in which mileage is computed for CAFE purposes.
"Fuel efficiency increasingly comes standard with new cars, trucks, and SUVs," says Jack Gillis, the CFA's director of public affairs author of the annual new-vehicle guide, The Car Book. "Even if you're in the market for a large pickup or SUV, you'd have to go out of your way to find a true gas guzzler."
Fortunately for automakers that can't seem to ship enough trucks to their dealers these days, the CFA's report found that SUVs and pickups, while still lagging the leaders with regard to fuel economy, are holding their own. Models rated at less than 16 mpg are down to just 4% of the nation's new-vehicle fleet, compared to nearly a third of the market in 2008 (back, we should add, when fuel was last as cheap as it remains today).


Automakers Beating Fuel Economy Expectations........................................

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Self-driving cars not trusted by Canadians yet

Self-driving cars not trusted by Canadians yet
Would you trust a self-driving car? No? Well, you're definitely not alone. According to a new CAA survey released on the eve of a major conference looking at the future of these vehicles, nearly two thirds (63%) of Canadians said they wouldn't feel safe in a driverless car.
Their biggest concerns are vehicle hacking, theft of data generated by the vehicle, and accountability in the event of an accident.
Of course, there are benefits, too, and more than half (57%) of Canadians believe the technology will advance to a point where they would fully trust a self-driving car in the next 10 years.
"Canadians clearly see the potential. We are just not there yet." says Jeff Walker, Vice-President of Public Affairs for CAA National. "Wherever the debate leads, CAA will be there to make sure the views of the driving public are well represented."


Self Driving Cars Not Trusted by Canadians Yet...............................................

Friday, 15 April 2016

Expect 8% decline in used-car prices by 2019

Used-car prices are expected to fall more than 8 percent over the next three years, according to an analysis released last week by RVI Group.
The firm attributes the projected 8.2-percent drop in real used-vehicle prices (i.e. residual values) to growth in three key areas: supply, competition and incentive spending.
"In particular, the growth in lease penetration will contribute to the supply of used vehicles as off-leased vehicles will begin to enter the market. In addition, we expect growing competition in the new vehicle market," it added. "The level of incentive spending will increase due to these changing dynamics in the auto industry."
To provide a sense of just how strong off-lease supply has become, consider the data shown in RVI's lease supply index, which it uses to measure off-lease supply.
The index reading in February was up 16 percent year-over-year, and it's expected to continue climbing, RVI said. That's driven by how much leasing has jumped in the past two years. Citing Polk data, RVI points out that leases comprised 21.5 percent of all new-vehicle sales in 2015, including a 22.4-percent penetration rate in the fourth quarter.
It was the early 2000s the last time lease rates were that strong, RVI said, showing data that leases have trended upward since 2009.

Expect 8% Decline in Used Car Prices by 2019........................

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Technology putting millions of distracted drivers in danger

Technology 'putting millions of distracted drivers in danger'

Technology is putting millions of distracted drivers in danger, according to a report.
Research revealed that two million Britons have experienced an accident or near-miss because their attention was on technology.
Motoring law firm Geoffrey Miller found technology was responsible for distracting 57% of drivers - causing 1.4 million drivers to swerve to avoid an oncoming vehicle and around 1.25 million passing through a red light.
The firm warned that a rise in super-tech cars with in-car screens and complimentary Netflix subscriptions could make it harder for motorists to focus on driving.
Five seconds looking away from the road while driving at 30mph can result in a car travelling over 50m. On the motorway, where a car is travelling at the national speed limit (70 mph), a car could travel 160m while the driver's gaze is elsewhere.
Research also found a more traditional action, changing the radio station, was the biggest distraction for modern drivers - looking at the satnav and a mobile phone followed after.
They also found men were worse at concentrating on the road and more likely to look at their phone behind the wheel.
Jeanette Miller, managing director of Geoffrey Miller, said although technology has made driving easer and safer, super-tech cars create a risk for motorists.
She said: "Aside from the 'being in proper control' laws, there are no specific laws in place to deal with the distraction of having a huge computer screen in the driver's eye line as yet.
"Legislation has not kept pace with the latest developments in car manufacturing and policymakers need to consider the implications of these new super-tech cars before they become mainstream."


Technology Putting Millions of Distracted Drivers in Danger..............

Friday, 1 April 2016

Google: Relax car dealers, don’t fear self-driving cars

Google has assured car dealers that the onset of self-driving cars is a positive, not a negative. Speaking at the J.D. Power Automotive Forum, John Krafcik, CEO of Google's self-driving car project, said self-driving cars will clock more hours than standard cars, which makes dealers more important than ever before.
"Self driving cars are going to be more expensive physical assets, so we're going to find a way to use them more,"said Krafcik. "I think there are going to be positive implications for a lot of dealers. And for the OEMs, thinking about that duty cycle is going to be very different."

Eight times the mileage for self-driving cars

Krafcik expects the average miles per year to surge from 13,500 miles currently to between 100,000 and 150,000. The rise in miles per year, he explains, might be due to car sharing programs that can be performed while the car owner is at work or asleep. More miles every year will most likely lead to more servicing and maintenance of the car, which is a positive for car dealers.
On the topic of car brands, Krafcik said "Airlines don't build airplanes. Airbus and Boeing do that. Who knows how this is going to work out in autos?" An interesting question, though we cannot see companies like General Motors and Ford lose more control over the cars; unless there is a radical change in ownership of self-driving cars.
New vehicle technologies have spooked dealer networks already. Since the coming autonomous vehicle tsunami will likely use electric drivetrain technologies, not combustion engines, dealers have already opened a front against high-end EV manufacturer Tesla in this war.
Tesla's sales process bypasses the lucrative dealer networks in each state - to the point that dealer groups have pushed for legislation banning manufacturers from selling in states where they have no dealerships.

More autonomous vehicles coming

Google isn't the only company working on self-driving capabilities for cars, but it appears to be the closest to a consumer model. Tesla launched its own self-driving service on the Model S earlier this year, but it is not a fully autonomous system.
Other car manufacturers like General Motors, Audi, and BMW have invested into their own autonomous teams, but Ford and Toyota have been in rumored talks with Google to partner in a self-driving project.
If Google is incapable of finding partners for its self-driving car, it might have to follow Apple and build its own car, a daunting task for the company that is all about software and services.


Google: Relax Car Dealers, Don't Fear Self Driving Cars.........................